Towards the end of 2017 I was watching Youtube videos and some the black Youtubers were discussing reading only black/African American authors for 2018. I forgot which Youtuber started the reading black out it but I decided I wanted to participate in the year long challenge. Now I have read about two to three books that weren’t from black authors but they were still people of color like Mindy Kaling Trevor Noah and Kevin Kwan. This year I have read or listened to over 40 fiction and non-fiction books by black authors. During this year long challenge I have been able to find books by black female authors that I never heard of before. I also found books about fictional middle aged black women that are truly bad ass. I won’t act like it was easy to find lesser know authors somtimes but thanks to black Booktube, Instagram and goodreads I was able to find some great books that I will definetly be recommending to others. Also you must look past the best of or must read list include the most well known black authors and books while there is nothing wrong with that there other great black authors writing good, beautiful stories. The bulk of my reading for 2019 will still be black authors but there a few non-black author books I want to read in 2019. I wanted to share a few of my favorite reads from reading black this year.
Best audio-book non-fiction: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish hearing Tiffany’s story in her own voice was funny and inspiring all at the same time. I’m sure you have seen an interview or read an article with her telling of her rough childhood the audio version of book is still worth a listen.
Best audio book fiction: Upstate by Kalisha Buckhorn is narrated by Chadwick Boseman and reading letters back and forth for the characters. The story of young love fractured by an imprisonment of the male character. The letters between the two teens into adulthood are so raw, funny and heartbreaking at times. I thought about this books for weeks after I finished. I highly recommend this book if you the liked An American Marriage even though these characters aren’t married you get that movement and evolution of the characters through their letters.
Best Series: Sugar by Bernice L. Mcfadden I really enjoyed the first book about Sugar Lacey. The second book was also good but the first book is the strongest of the series. You find out about Sugar’s beginning and how she became to be troubled young woman the finds herself living across the street from Pearl.
Favorite re-read: Color Purple by Alice Walker I have read the Color Purple three times now. First as teen then as a twenty something and then again this year at forty. Each time I gleam something different or get something that I missed. I feel like Celie, Nettie and Shug Avery are part of my family. I have a love hate relationship with Mr. and Harpo. And if you don’t love Sophia I’m not sure about your character.
Best New to Me: Blanche White by Barbara Neely I have always loved mysteries dating back to when I was young. As I got older and my interest changed to want to read characters that looked more like me it has been difficult to find mysteries or thrillers that have black female leads. When March Mystery Madness rolled around on Youtube a video featured books with just such characters by black authors. I read the first book of the Blanche White series in March and picked up the second book over the summer. I believe there are only four books in the series but I’m excited to read the rest of Ms. White’s adventures.